Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Brisbane Underground - the Park Road problem

The messy bit.      Screenshot from TMR Website. 
As many BrizCommuter readers will be aware, the lack of interchange for the planned Brisbane Underground / Underground Bus and Rail (UBAT) project at Park Road/Boggo Road, and removal of Dutton Park station has caused quite a stir. But is it such a big issue? BrizCommuter takes a look at the scenarios where interchange may be worse, and then takes a look at alternative solutions.

  1. There will a frequent bus route using UBAT serving Roma Street-George Street-Wooloongabba-Park Rd/Boggo Rd-UQ Lakes. 
  2. There will be a frequent bus route linking Wooloongabba and Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH). 
  3. There will be a more sensible bus network (i.e. Brisbane City Council removed from bus network design).
  4. There will be a three tier train service on the Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line corridor, each running a 15 minute off-peak frequency as per the Inner City Rail Capacity Study and Cross River Rail plans. Gold Coast and outer-Beenleigh Line services will run via UBAT. Inner-Beenleigh Line services (eventually extended to Flagstone) will run via Park Rd and South Brisbane. 
Interchange between Cleveland Line and outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Lines

Current situation - this currently requires a single change, but waits can vary. 
Problem post UBAT - this interchange will not be possible without changing twice.
Solutions post UBAT - 1) Well timed train interchanges at both Park Rd and suitable location on inner-Gold Coast Beenleigh Line (?Yeerongpilly). This would create additional train scheduling requirements.  2) Frequent bus service between Park Rd/Boggo Rd (Cleveland Line) and Wooloongabba (outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line) via UBAT. 
Estimated impact: Approx. 10-15 mins additional journey time for ? less than 100 passengers/day. 

Access to UQ and PAH from outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Lines

Current situation - this currently requires a single change between bus and rail at Park Rd/Boggo Rd.
Problem post UBAT - outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line services will bypass Park Rd/Boggo Rd.
Solution post UBAT - outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line services will serve Wooloongabba, allowing interchange with buses to UQ and PAH.  
Estimated impact: Approx. 2 mins additional journey time for a few thousand passengers/day. 

Access to South Bank/Brisbane area from outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Lines

Current situation - these stations are currently served by all trains from this corridor. 
Problem post UBAT - outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line services will not serve these stations.
Solution post UBAT - outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line services will interchange with inner-Beenleigh Line services at suitable station (e.g. Yeerongpilly). As per the first problem in this blog post, if train services could be timed to connect at this station (which would require an extra platform for cross-platform interchange), then the issue would be mitigated significantly.
Estimated impact: Approx. 7.5 mins additional journey time for a few thousand passengers/day. 

Access to Dutton Park station from Beenleigh Line

Current situation - this station is served by all Beenleigh Line services (from Jan. 2014).
Problem post UBAT - station will be closed permanently.
Solution post UBAT - 1) Walkway from Park Rd/Boggo Rd station, 2) Buses will serve Dutton Park, 3) Buses to PAH busway station from multiple locations including Wooloongabba (UBAT) and Park Rd/Boggo Rd (outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Lines). 
Estimated impact: Overall balanced journey times for less than a thousand passengers/day. 


Whilst far from perfect, the plans for UBAT will improve public transport for tens of thousands of public transport users. Examples include (but are not exclusive to):
  • Increased capacity to the CBD for many rail lines (may require other rail infrastructure projects) - approx. 5-7 min faster journey times and less crowding/more capacity.  
  • Faster bus journeys through CBD for some routes - approx. 7 min faster journey time.
  • Improved access to Gardens Point end of CBD - approx. 15 min faster journey time.
  • Faster train journeys to CBD from outer-Beenleigh/Gold Coast Line - approx. 10 min faster journey time.
  • Improved access to CBD from Centenary Suburbs/Kenmore area via Legacy Way tunnel (although this doesn't need to wait until UBAT) - approx. 15-20min faster journey times, and new journey opportunities. 
The preferred solution would still be an interchange between existing rail lines and UBAT at Park Rd/Boggo Rd, and this would be BrizCommuter's preference. However, even without this interchange station (that may cost at least $500m) the benefits of UBAT still significantly outweigh the dis-benefits as long as the above mitigation strategies are in place.

Previous blog post on Brisbane Underground/UBAT:


  1. Its very easy to see that the benefits of the entire project, and if the project does end up not including Park Road underground platforms, then it would be inconvenient but we would all manage, probably. It may not be the be all and end all, but you would have to agree that if we pursued this and underground platforms are built, there would be benefits in a single point of transfer between the different services, both bus and rail.

  2. All I want to see is 'them' get on with it. Remember, CRR is supposed to already being built. We are supposed to be seeing headlines about complaints of housing resumptions and poor roadwork design caused by CRR delays.

    At this stage all this is to me is just another plan until I see dirt being turned.

  3. I don't disagree with anything you've said in this post, but I do think your summary illustrates the additional complexity that is introduced by the omission of the Park Rd interchange. Park Road is a valuable node in the network and deserves direct connections to foster urban renewal in the area. For network legibility and simplicity of interchanges it just makes logical sense to have a UBAT station there. If the cost of the interchange was $500 million (which I don't think is too unrealistic), I believe it would be very good value for the money in the context of a total project cost of $5 billion.

  4. Dutton park station which is being closed is a mere 150 metres from PA Hospital, probably about a 1/4 of staff and patients use this mode of transport.
    To have to walk from Park Road station is a couple of klms. Not very useful..


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